How To Hire Developers for Startups

Hiring people is never easy. It is one of those decisions that one needs to make without enough information. It is true that you can check the CVs of the candidates, but what about their work ethic? How they will get along with the other workers? Will they adapt to the future changes?

It is literally impossible to answer all the questions; and to make things worse, when you are a startup that is trying to enter the market with very limited resources, you do not have much of a margin for mistakes. Keep in mind that according to Glassdoor the average base pay for a software developer in United States is $76,526; not bad for a startup, right?

In general, this is the minimum value that any startup needs from its developers:

  • Availability to create a prototype in order to present the idea to investors and get the necessary funding
  • Skills to fully develop the minimum viable product (MVP) presented in the prototype
  • An approach that focuses in user experience
  • Flexibility with costs; startups are not always able to pay big amounts regularly and may face different cash flows
  • Proactive attitude and willingness to adapt to changes and improve

What are the options to find all these characteristics in just one person? We can advance that there are some alternatives to the traditional hiring that offer you more flexibility. Let’s see what options you have.


Get support from a developing company.

Even if your core product is software, you do not need to develop it yourself. Many startups opt to hire the services of a developing company because it gives them more flexibility.

When hiring a company, you can stop the service at any moment without needing to pay any settlement, which is one of the main issues when you hire someone for your staff.

Besides, it is usually easier to check the past of the company and get information about how working with them went for others.

Lastly, a company provides you with a team of people instead of just one person; so when some new issue arises, the chances of having someone able to solve it quickly are higher.


Hire a freelancer.

This is the most flexible option of all of them; although on the other hand, each time you change your freelancer, you will face the same uncertainty about his or her performance. As a result, once you find someone, you are likely to continue with this person.

Of course, there are no settlements when you break off the relationship, and you are always free to cut the cost.

Nowadays, it is easy to hire freelancers from almost any country in the world, so you can get excellent developers in countries where the standard of living is lower and, thus, salaries cheaper.


Hire someone to telework.

This option is very similar to the previous one in terms of chances to hire someone on the other side of the world and get good service for an excellent price.

The difference is that here you are asking for a stronger commitment to the worker; and, therefore, you need to pay for their holidays and sick leaves.

If you hire the person, in principle, you will need to pay a settlement when you decide to stop the work, but it will also depend on where this person lives. If it is outside the U.S., you may not need to pay anything. Maybe it would be better to ask your lawyer anyway.


You can also go with the traditional way.

Of course, you can also choose the traditional way and hire a developer to work in your offices. This is less flexible, but it may allow you to build a better engagement with the worker, increasing his or her fidelity.



There are plenty of ways to hire a developer for startups. Some involve a greater commitment, and others are more flexible but uncertain.

For an organization that is in its first stages, the most flexible options may be the best. Later, they can increase the commitment, once things start to be more regular and predictable.